Dishing with Dee: Queens residents will lose 2 diners by the end of ‘10

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Hope everyone had a happy and enjoyable Thanksgiving. Janet Malone, Tony Ramos, Jim Darmos and I were invited to Barry and Debbie Markell-Klinert’s house in Whitestone for a great Thanksgiving dinner.

Debbie had more than 20 other guests, but she has a big house so she could accommodate everyone easily. Thanksgiving is one holiday that is nice to share with friends both old and the new ones you meet at parties such as this. Debbie’s friends and family are a fun, lively, interesting and diversified group. And yes, Virginia, it was a happy Thanksgiving.

For those of us who remember the fun of the Age of Aquarius, how many of us today think this Age of Regression­/Recession is fun?

Just this week alone we heard that Nov. 29 is the last day of operation of the Scobee Diner. From what we understand, the owners of the diner offered their landlady three times the present rent to renew their lease. She has steadfastly and adamantly refused. Apparently she is in favor of selling the property to a developer. The diner itself is huge and there is an extremely large parking lot that goes with it. The diner has been a staple in the area for over 70 years. Everyone used it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, late night snacks and coffee 24/7. Aside from being used for meals, it was a great location for meetings and parties of all sorts.

The two closest diners to Scobee were the Seville in Douglaston, which closed a year or so ago, and the Bayside Diner in Bayside, which closed its doors this past summer. Unless some enterprising individual opens a local neighborhood diner, the community folks will have to go east to the 7 Seas in Great Neck, L.I., or west to the North Shore in Bayside, both of which have good food but neither is as convenient for the locals as was Scobee in Little Neck.

The Whitehouse Restaurant in Whitestone will close its doors at the end of December. Another Whitestone company, Kinray, a successful pharmaceutical company, will be sold to Cardinal Health for $1.3 billion. Thank goodness they are selling the company and not closing it. The sale will take effect in 2011. All of these changes in such a short time are upsetting to the residents who like the status quo and the way things were.

I forgot to mention that the Aqueduct Flea Market will also close to make room for the racino. What next? We are slowly losing our longtime, comfortable, local Queens identity. In fact, we are also losing Frank Padavan, our longtime — 38 years to be exact — senator.

Speaking of Padavan, I would like inform all the friends and constituents of the good senator that I will be hosting a salute to Frank Padavan cocktail party/buffett at Leonard’s of Great Neck Dec. 29 from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. It will be non-partisan and non-political. It will just be a celebration of the 38 years of his life and service to his Senate district.

As of Dec. 1, the holiday party season is kicking off with non-stop, wall-to-wall invitations. All of the parties sound like fun and I will try to cover as many as possible.

With the long Thanksgiving weekend from half a day Wednesday to Sunday, there wasn’t much going on this week, so there will be no Focus on Queens page and I will try to publish two pages next week.

That’s it for this week.

I look forward to hearing from you with information on people, parties and politics or gossip.

I like receiving your voice mails at 718-767-6484, faxes at 718-746-0066 and e-mails at

Till next week, Dee.

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